A Golden Retriever puppy curled up on your bed--what could be cuter? A 100-pound Retriever that spent the day swimming in a swamp, sprawled out in the middle of your bed on your new duvet...not so much!
Training your Golden Retriever to sleep in a crate at night might be a better option, 'just saying! Having your Golden sleep in a crate at night has several advantages. Besides keeping your bed dog-free, it speeds up house training considerably, gets him accustomed to a crate that can later be used for addressing behavioral issues or traveling, and keeps your pup safe while you are sleeping--an unsupervised dog can chew on dangerous items like electrical cords or sharp objects, or get into food that will make him sick. Your Golden Retriever may not be too happy about the chosen sleeping location at first--your bed, after all, was pretty comfy--but there are several ways to make your Retriever's crate a favorite, safe place, for your dog. Dogs are, after all, “den” animals, and making your dog's crate his den gives him a safe place of his own to sleep quietly at night.
In order to train your Golden Retriever to happily and quietly sleep in a crate at night, you need to make the crate a great place. This means never using it as a form of punishment. Although confining your dog to a crate may be required to keep him out of trouble, it should never be accompanied by punishment or yelling, which will create a negative association with the crate.
The younger you start your Golden Retriever learning to use his crate at night, and to be comfortable with it, the easier it will be to establish it as a quiet retreat your dog is happy to use. You may want to include a verbal command to give your dog direction to get into his crate, such as “kennel up”, “bedtime”, “den” or “crate”. It is not uncommon, especially for young dogs, to cry or whine at night when left in their crates at first. After all, they would rather be snuggled up with you. It is important not to respond to crying, which will only reinforce it. Keep in mind that a puppy or young dog may need to go out for potty breaks in the middle of the night. To avoid having to respond to a crying dog that needs a bathroom break, schedule breaks before your dog starts to vocalize, that way he will not need to alert you, and won't have crying reinforced by being let out of his crate for a midnight romp in the yard.
We have had our Golden for 5 days. We are struggling with when to feed him and how much... along with potty training. This is our current schedule:
Up at 5:30 - immediately take to go pee.
5:45 - feed 2 cups pup food and drink water
6-6:10 - go to pee/poo
6:30 -12 noon - crate; small cup of water in crate only
12 - go to pee/poo; offer food if he has not eaten
12:30 - 4 - crate/ small cup water in crate only
4- go pee/poo
5/5:30 - feed two cups pup food
6:30 - 10 restroom breaks every hour
10 - crate for bed
Our problem is that he doesn't want to eat so if he doesn't should we offer him food at other times?? We do and it causes him to have accidents even though our schedule is above.
Hello, Based on his age the most he can hold his bladder for during the day is his age in months plus one...which means that at 2 months of age 3-3.5 hours is the most he can hold it for in the crate while you are gone. When you are home I suggest taking him potty every hour like you are doing already though. Assuming you want to get up for the day at 5:30 am (you can have him go back to bed after the potty trip if you would rather sleep in more), then I would follow the below schedule, which is very similar to the one you already have, with a couple of adjustments: Up at 5:30 - immediately take to go pee. 5:45 - feed 2 cups pup food and drink water 6-6:10 - go to pee/poo 6:10 - crate; small cup of water in crate (if it doesn't lead to accidents, otherwise give water at beginning of potty trips, meals, and during the evening). 9:20 - go to pee/poo 9:30 -12:30 - crate; small cup of water in crate only 12:30 - go to pee/poo; offer food and water (whether he ate earlier or not...puppies can eat three times a day still at this age, he will transition to 2 soon though), take outside to poop after eating. 12:50 - 4 pm - crate/ small cup water in crate only 4:00 - go pee/poo 5/5:30 - feed two cups pup food 6:30 - 10 restroom breaks every hour (using Tethering method or crate training method from article I have linked below) 10 - crate for bed Crate Training and Tethering methods for potty training; https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside A month from now pup should be able to go another hour between potty trips while in the crate. That number will continue to increase by one hour until 7/8 months of age where is maxes out at 8-8.5 hours between potty trips. Puppy can sleep in later than 5:30 am if you are getting up at that time because he wakes you and not by choice, but you will need to take puppy potty at that time still most likely at this age, then put him back into the crate afterwards and ignore the crying until he learns to go back to sleep after a few mornings of the routine. I am guessing the 5:30 am is your own wake up time and schedule, which is great - but just know that you can teach a puppy to accommodate your schedule with sleep with some work and consistency on your part - many people get up earlier than they want to long-term because puppy wakes them without going back to bed after and they get into an early morning habit. As far as the eating I would check with your vet. Generally most puppies that age are fed three times a day. The biggest concern is how much he is getting per day though and how his weight and overall health is. If you are worried about amounts, filling hollow chew toys with food that's been mixed with a little liver paste can make eating more fun and help with boredom in the crate, and food can be used as training rewards too, so that pup ends up eating a little throughout the day in the form of training rewards and stuffed toys, without getting into the habit of being free fed with a bowl of food out all the time, which can be bad for some dogs. Look on the bag or website of the food you are feeding. Most companies produce feeding guidelines for their foods based on expected adult weights and puppy's current age (so look up the average weight for an adult male Golden Retriever and take his father's size into consideration if you know it). Some will produce guidelines based on puppy's current weight - which also works as long as puppy is not too fat or skinny for their age. Feel down puppy's rib cage with your hands, look at their back and hips, and look at the tummy. A healthy puppy's tummy should tuck up a little bit near the hind legs to give an appearance of a waist (not an extreme tuck and not a straight line or pot belly), you should be able to easily feel their ribs but the ribs should feel boney or protrude. The spine and hips should be easy to find but their should be just a little bit of padding in the area around them so that they aren't sticking out a lot. Feed pup based on your dog food's guidelines then keep an eye on his physique to see if they are getting too fat or too skinny and need the food amount adjusted due to their individual metabolism. Divide the amount of food you determine they need per day into the number of meals you are feeding. For example, if pup gets 4 cups of food per day, then give a little more than 1.5 cups three times a day to equal 4. My Retriever ate around 3.5-5 cups per day of the food I fed, with amounts increasing as pup got slightly older, then slowing down again after 1 year of age when her metabolism slowed down - but that amount was based on her individual metabolism, the food I chose, and her age at the time. If you determine that you are feeding the correct amounts but puppy is still not eating, you may want to try gradually switching to another puppy food to see if that helps - just make sure that it is a food formulated for puppies or all-life stages - that meets his nutritional needs at this age. (I am not a vet) Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Me and my wife recently brought home our male golden retriever puppy. We have had him for 2 weeks and for those two weeks we have gotten up in the middle of the night when he starts to whine to take him out to pee. I have had friends who are long time dog owners to not let him out in the middle of the night. They said he will pee on himself a couple times but he will stop once he realizes he needs to hold it throughout the night. They said if we continue to let him out during the night that he will always expect to be let out during the night and therefore will not learn to hold his pee throughout the night. Is this true and is this an acceptable way to crate train a male golden retriever?
Hello Kyle, Do not listen to your friends' advice. Riggs is still young enough that he likely does need to pee in the middle of the night. If you let him pee on himself in the crate multiple times, you run the risk of him loosing his natural desire to hold his pee in a crate. Loosing that desire makes potty training using a crate almost impossible. The situation would be different if he was six-months old, but a ten week old puppy cannot help his need to pee. Continue taking him outside during the night if he asks at this age, but to ensure that he is not asking to go potty out of habit do the following: 1. When you take him out during the night, take him on a leash, keep the trip very boring and calm, and put him straight back into the crate after he pees. If he cries when you put him back in the crate and you know that his bladder is empty now, ignore the crying. 2. Move him out of your bedroom and use an audio baby monitor to listen out for him needing to go potty during the night...You only need to do this if he begins to wake up to play or because he hears you...You can do it if you would simply like for him out of the bedroom however, and it will have the added benefit of teaching him to sleep somewhere away from you - which can make traveling and boarding him easier as an adult. 3. Remove all food and water two hours before you put him to bed. 4. Take him outside to go potty on a leash and watch him to make sure that he actually goes potty, right before you put him to bed - not thirty-minutes or an hour beforehand because his bladder will not shut down until he is actually asleep. His bladder calming down is what allows him to hold his pee throughout the night. 5. Don't expect him to sleep for longer than 10-12 hours at night. The exact amount will depend on how often he sleeps during the day. Keep an eye on his evenings, that 10-12 hours will begin when he falls asleep in the evening, not just when you put him into the crate. If he is going to sleep early in the evening, then he will wake up earlier - fully rested and ready for the day. 6. Don't feed him in the morning until the time when you want him to normally wake up and eat when he is older. You want his body to get used to eating at that time and not an earlier time. If his body gets used to eating at an earlier time because he woke up too early to pee one morning, then his body might begin to wake him up to eat too soon in the morning. If you get him up earlier to pee and let him stay up, then wait to feed him until it is within one-hour of when he normally eats. An occasional exception to this is not detrimental, but avoid a habit of it. If you run into any specific issues, then you can always check back here with questions as he gets older. Most puppies wake up during the night until they are around twelve weeks of age. Their bladders can only go so long. Some puppies sleep through the night earlier and some a bit later, but when a puppy actually needs to pee, he needs to be taken outside. You simply need to stick to your routine and not do anything but take him outside and right back in, so that he will not learn to wake up for any reason (like playing, cuddling or eating) besides a full bladder...Learning to wake up for a reason other than a full bladder is what leads to long term night-wakings. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We just got Sadie two days ago, were told by her previous owners she was 4.5 months old "mostly" potty trained. We also have an 8 year old husky mix. Sadie has had many accidents and seems unfazed when we clap hands or tell her no when she pees inside.She seems to be doing well with our other dog. I have two questions, when should she be sleeping through the night in her crate?, is there advice that is different when there is another dog in the home? Our current dog we got at 6 months old and never woke during the night to go out. Also as far as feeding her and removing her food, she gets into our other dogs food. I was hoping to keep both of their food in the same area(our laundry/mudroom) which is where her crate is also. Our older dog is not in a crate at all. Should we keep their food in separate areas?
Hello Holly, First, are you free feeding both dogs and leaving the food out all the time or is she just getting into the other dog's food during meal times? If they are both being free-feeding (food left out), now that you have two dogs they absolutely both need to start being fed on a schedule - you may end up with resource guarding and fights with free feeding. If she is stealing it during meal times, feed the dogs separately. Pup can be fed in her crate until both dogs are finished. When both dogs are not actively eating for 15 minutes, remove the food and wait until the next meal time to give what was left plus the next meal's food. The other option is to literally stand and watch the dogs eat and block pup from getting to your other dog's food each time and herd her back over to her own bowl each time - with a puppy this age, I don't find that that's very realistic for most people because it will take a ton of repetition (probably weeks or a couple months) and needs to be done at every meal. I would treat pup like she isn't potty trained at all. Go back to the basics. Follow the Tethering and Crate Training methods from the article I have linked below. Start with the Crate Training method to be more strict to get her off to the right start. When she is doing really well, you can transition to the Tethering method when you are home if you want to. Disciplining after the fact when she has an accident really isn't very effective for potty training young puppies - it's all about habits and cleanliness. With discipline most puppies just learn not to potty in front of you - which can make outside pottying hard too. It's more important to manage pup's freedom and schedule well enough that puppy doesn't have many opportunities to have accidents inside, and are rewarded for pottying outside, so that they develop a habit of pottying outside and keeping inside clean. Potty training is all about creating a long-term habit in the dog. Tethering and Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Since pup is older, take her out the recommended times in the article linked above at first, but when you have to be gone, she should be able to hold her bladder in the correct size crate for up to 4 hours if necessary. Taking her sooner while you are home will help her learn much sooner though, so take her more often, like the article states, then. As far as night time goes. 5-6 months is generally when most puppies can sleep through the night 8-10 hours. Almost no puppy will sleep through the night before they are crate trained and mostly potty trained though, so those things have to come first. Once pup has those skills, then it's just a matter of pup's bladder capacity growing enough to make it overnight. Keep any nighttime trips outside super boring - no playing or treats at night. After pup potties, take pup straight back inside and put her back into the crate. You don't want to give pup any reason to wake up during the night besides needing to potty or sleeping through the night will take longer. Finally, check out the free pdf e-book AFTER You Get Your puppy. It can be downloaded at the link below: www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I'm trying to crate train my golden. So far, she's gotten accustomed to going inside the crate. She brings her toys in there and can hang out in there for a good amount of time just playing with her toys. As soon as I close the crate she starts getting stressed, whines, and scratches at the door trying to get out (I don't want her to hurt herself). Because of this, I've only been able to keep the door closed for maybe a couple minutes, making sure I wait until she stops whining to open the crate. My question is, where is the boundary with training and traumatizing? I want her to get used to the crate door being closed but also don't want her to develop anxiety and associate the crate with a place of anxiety. Thank you!
Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.
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Hi there, we have had Phoenix, our male golden pup, for about 4 days. He seems to prefer sleeping on the vent cover than the crate. He does go into the crate but only for a few minutes to chew on a chew toy in there or lay for 2-4 min. His food bowl is right outside the door, which we have left open so far. He whined for hours the first two nights and last night we took him out at 12.30 and 4 am proactively and he didn’t whine at all. He still nips and snaps at us and the kids so we would like to crate him more but are unsure how to handle the nipping and the crating time with the door closed. We don’t want the nipping you get worse due to anxiety from crating. We have tried redirecting with chew toys but can’t tell if he is better because he still tries to use his teeth on us. Any advice on Both the nipping/snapping and crating would be appreciated. Thank you!
Hello Ash, For crating crying the first two weeks is completely normal. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below to help pup adjust a bit sooner. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. At the same time however, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the bite inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Also, know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep at it. I also recommend teaching the Out command so that you specifically can instruct pup to give the kids space when needed - pay attention to the sections on teaching Out and using out to deal with pushy behavior specifically. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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